Posts Tagged ‘series’

Once More with Feeling: A Series of Your Own and a New Pattern Book

Monday, March 11th, 2013



 I’ve spent about a month sharing my series with you. Now I’m going to ask you to share yours.

So, what’s stopping you? Whatever media you work in, be it doodling on envelop backs or marble carving, you can stretch into a series, just like stretching into new jamies. It’s not hard.

If you’re waiting for the golden day when you paint your masterpiece, you’ll wait forever. Here is here and now is now.  So take an idea, run with it, do it again and again, not in search of perfection but in search of new pathways,  ideas and passions. 

Here’s some ways to start working in a series

  • Take an image or an idea you’re passionate about.
  • Do it over and over again.
  • Change the angle.
  • Change the size.
  • Do it in primary colors.
  • Do it in black and white.
  • Do it in every color in the rainbow.
  • Do it in a color you really hate.
  • Do it upside down.
  • Get really close to your image.
  • Make your image really far away.
  • Do three of them in your piece.
  • Do five.
  • Make just pieces of your image.
  • Create your image. Cut it up and put it back together.
  • Do it in colors you don’t think go together. Make them go together.
  • Pick a complementary pair of colors on the color wheel that you love. Move it over two spots. Use those colors.
  • Draw it with really thick lines and no detail.
  • Draw it with tiny lines and immense detail.
  • Segment the image parts and color them differently.
  • Segment the image parts and color them so they shade progressively.
  • Put sheer layers  over your image to put it in sunlight, water, or mist.
  • Try it in a brand new media
  • Try it in a media you tried before but didn’t work then.
  • Cut it instead of draw it
  • Draw it instead of cut it

I hope you’re getting the punchline. Draw, put, try, create, take, do, change: these are all action words. Do something to it. Do something different to it. The world is wide.

eddypatternsforembroiderybookcwYou all gave me the best ideas for a pattern book. It went places I hadn’t thought of and I am very grateful.
This is not the pattern book I want to do that includes color clues and stitching advice. It is just an assist, to act as a springboard, if you wish.  If you’d like a free copy,  you can get your copy  of Patterns for Embroidery, at 

I’d also like to show you off. Would you like me to post your work on the Lunatic Fringe thread? Send me a series of 4 pieces of your work (any media) and a picture of yourself with a paragraph long art statement. Tell me how you’ve explored your series. I’ll  post the ones I find most exciting on my site and link them to your web presence. If you gave me book advice please go to scribd for your free ebook. And thank you!

Send your images and statement to

I can’t wait to see what you’ve done and what you’ll do!

Once More with Feeling: Patterns

Monday, March 4th, 2013

774 Fall Flight

774 Fall Flight detail 2I’ll confess this. I really didn’t want to do patterns. I fought it tooth and nail.

Why? Because I believe something truly magical happens when you try to draw. 

Three things I know:

  • Everything worth doing is worth doing badly. If you ever want to do anything well, you need to be willing to do it over and over again. Badly at first. You need to be willing to weather that through.
  • There’s no can’t like won’t. You really can’t do anything that you won’t do. Get over the won’t and then you really can. Particularly if you drop the need to be perfect. 
  • You’re always better than you think. Once people get over the won’t thing and the perfection thing, usually their learning curve is pleasantly steep. But even if it isn’t, if you’re willing to try you can really, really, do anything.

I also thought it was lazy art. Then I ended up in a gallery with a show of Degas pastel tracings.


I’m not Degas’ biggest fan, but he’s my idea of a completely respectable artist. He did brave explorations of art that was highly unacceptable in it’s time.  And created an amazing body of work.

At one point he started tracing over his pictures and coloring them in different ways with pastels. I believe it was a color study. But no one can deny the beauty of them. He took the same image, over and over, to see where it might go.

With that being said, I’ve begun several years ago to bring patterns into class. And in the process, I’ve started using them myself, partially because it was part of demo and partially because it gives you a way to rework things in different ways. Again, another definition of series.

What changed my mind? Well you pick your battles. If I have a lady in class, I’ve already made her work upside down and put weird thread in her machine. It’s sometimes time to cut  a person some slack.

But it also speeds up the process. I will teach stick drawing for animals in class, but I only do it on request or when I’m doing master classes. Most people just want to go boogie on their machine. Sensibly enough. So I’ve consistently handed out a series of patterns from quilts of my own.

So what happens when you rework an image? All the other good series that happen

  • You get to ask, what if?
  • You remove some decisions so you can focus on others.
  • You speedline your work.

Frog 3So with all that in mind I’m in the process of preparing a pattern book for students. You are the people I do this for.  So would you be willing to let me know what you think?

  • Are you interested in a book of patterns drawn from my quilts?
  • What animals would you like to see in it? 
  • Would you be willing to honor my request to use it strictly for classroom or personal use? (Not for contest or sales)
  • Would you want a disk to go with it of jpgs?
  • Would some other format work better for you?
  • Would you want a smaller number of patterns with full color insides or a larger black and white book?
  • Do you want advice and help in coloring and shading?
  • Do you want information about stitching or do you just want patterns?
  • Is there something else that would make this book more useful or desirable to you?

I learned a long time ago that I am not making books for me. They are always for you, fellow artists. So it helps to know, what would help. If you respond ( and leave your email), I’ll send you 6 patterns as a thank you.

You can either leave your comments on the page or email me at

or you can call at 219-921-0885.








Once More with Feeling: Koi Series

Sunday, January 13th, 2013

721 in the reeds w (1)My father went to the first church of fishing. That does not mean that he was fishing for men or that he went to church. If he had a free day it was spent in a row boat on the river or lake, fishing for bass. It made for a much nicer sort of person than my Catholic mother, so  I had much more respect for it. It was his passion and his peace.

Being a good dad, he took me along from time to time. We had a few tearful moments about worms on hooks and the use of the tin can ( there is no pottie in a row boat).  We solved that early. He took me ashore when needed and he understood I didn’t want to catch fish. I just wanted to watch them.

So I would lean out of the boat with my head right above the water, watching the swirling water and the swish of fins. I’m still there. I’ll be there forever.

The fish in the stream series is all about that. And it’s about swimming through the waters of your life. I’ve gone  back to it repeatedly because it’s so vital to me.

The earlier ones were less filled in, somehow less active.

92 Father of All FishesFather of All Fishes was my first real Thread Magic Quilt. It was nature based, done in pearl cotton bobbin work. The transparency of the images, and the nature of seeing the fish under and over leaves fascinated me.

Here are some of the more formed fish I did after I learned how to fill them in with thin thread and a zigzag stitch.








I soon learned after that how to control my water better. When you walk into water you can feel the cooler and warmer currents in layers. You can make that happen with layers of organza and lace.

Finally I learned to use hand dyed pearl cottons and Angelina Fiber for water. It’s funny to me that the techniques change and my ability to render get’s better. But the fish still make me quiet and happy as a girl leaning out a row boat, reaching for the illusion of underwater life.


One More Time with Feeling: Working in Series:Dancing Trees

Thursday, January 10th, 2013

The Nature of Nature is variance.

Sometimes an idea you have just can’t be exhausted by doing one quilt. There’s a wild experience that happens when you work in series. I’m going to do a series of blogs on some of the ideas that have grabbed me by the neck and not let go. What happens in the end is the answer to the 1,000 what ifs. What if I do it in red? What if it’s flying instead of sitting? what if it’s in the moonlight? Sunlight? Shade? What if I only use one color? What if? What if?  What if?

Finally there’s the what if I know more.A quilt that I could only do one way five years ago may have many other options now.

When I was a child, we took a train trip up from Streator to Chicago every year. It was a bit of a dull ride for a five year old. So my mother told me all the bare trees were dancing in the wind. Remembering this started a series I still love to play with.

Early Trees

These are some of the first trees I played with. They featured cut-away applique and lots of lace and metallic fabrics for foliage.


Here are some of the trees where I started to incorporate bodies in the forms.
 Finally I felt confident to blow them up to forest size.
This represents about 15 years worth of trees, dancing and otherwise. Did they all work out as well as I hoped. Of course not! My best teachers are my errors.
Could I have made one without the others? Maybe. But I suspect it wouldn’t have happened. One leads to another which leads to another. It’s a path of breadcrumb ideas spread forward, instead of backward. A good series does that.
We’ll look at some more series for fun. I hope you try it yourself. If it’s a good idea, it’s a great idea to “what if” at.

View Cart | Check Out